Desolating Sickness

“And in that generation shall the times of the gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be men standing in that generation that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge, for a desolating sickness shall cover the land. But my disciples shall stand in holy places and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices, and curse God, and die.” T&C 31:7–March 7, 1831.

It has been nearly two centuries since that prophecy. Fortunately, the United States has had an effective public health system that has eliminated polio, smallpox, malaria and other diseases that have decimated other populations. In his book, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies,
Jared M. Diamond describes the desolation of the Americas by smallpox when European settlers arrived. That single disease destroyed the Aztec empire, killing an estimated 40% in a single year. The Inca empire was likewise decimated by the same disease. Jared Diamond estimates that 20 million Great Plains natives of North America were killed by smallpox.

Inoculations and public health programs eliminated smallpox and there are only two repositories of the virus stored in the United States at the Center for Disease Control, and in Russia at the State Centre for Research on Virology and Biotechnology. If it is turned into a bioweapon it could result in a significant number of deaths.

Polio is also a disease that was eradicated from the United States. However, last year a case of polio was found in New York.

Dengue fever is a tropical disease that has not typically been a problem in the United States. However, this year cases have been reported in Texas, Florida, Arizona and Hawaii.

Malaria has also returned to Texas and Florida. And there is a local outbreak of leprosy also in Florida. There was a time when the United States guarded public health by requiring a physical examination of those entering the country from places known to potentially carry diseases, and to treat them before they were released into the general population. Today that is a thing of the past.

People are entering the United States from every part of the world. They are being bused from the border states to other locations throughout the nation.

We have been warned since 1831 about a coming desolating sickness to cover the land. However, with an effective national health infrastructure that made the prophecy seem unlikely to ever be fulfilled. It is increasingly more likely that neglect of wise precautions will make it inevitable. When the times of the gentiles has been fulfilled, that single generation of people will witness it happen.

The silver lining to the prophecy is that the Lord’s disciples will have holy places and will not be moved by the desolation.